Ten starts in, Taillon pushes for lead in Pirates’ shuffled rotation


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Jameson Taillon pitches in the third inning of Thursday's win. - GETTY

In this time of pitching rotation flux for the Pirates, with Jon Niese and Francisco Liriano traded away, Iván Nova acquired, Ryan Vogelsong reactivated and Chad Kuhl promoted, a strong-armed righty with top-of-the-draft pedigree has given them needed stability.

No, not Gerrit Cole. The fourth-year Pirate has had his moments since the All-Star break, headlined by his first complete game two weeks ago, but he's played backup singer to rookie Jameson Taillon's lead vocalist over the past month.

Taillon, drafted one year before Cole (2010) and taken one spot lower (second overall), pitched in just his 10th major-league game Thursday afternoon at PNC Park. You wouldn't know it to look at his results, as the eight scoreless innings he spun in a 4-0 win over the Padres increased his streak of quality starts to six.

"To be honest, I'm just trying to keep my head down and knock out starts," Taillon said, still toweling off from a particularly steamy North Shore afternoon, even for August. "Not worried about anything else. Everything's kinda new to me. I'm literally just trying to nail my routine and keep going."

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